Another church year has ended and a new one begins today with the first Sunday of Advent. Today’s Message from the Scriptures talks again about Christ’s coming again. When Luke wrote his gospel the people were waiting…and waiting…and waiting…and we are still waiting. Have people given up on Christ ever coming back? Have we become discouraged with all the waiting? I wonder.
How patient are you? Some days I’m very impatient and other times it doesn’t matter, but the world has been waiting a long time for Christ to return and bring with him the new heaven and earth and a New Jerusalem. Do you think we’re ready?
We have heard this Message so many times and he hasn’t come yet that I wonder if we haven’t been putting changing our lives or even thinking about changing that we may be in danger of not being ready. Friends, I’m speaking from experience here. I am the classic procrastinator who puts things off until they absolutely can’t be put off any longer. But this is something I shouldn’t put off and neither should you.
Jesus said that he is coming and we are to watch for the signs. When these signs appear that means that the kingdom of God is near. So, should we be watching for signs or preparing ourselves for Christ’s coming? What do you think?
I think if we spend our time watching for the signs and trying to interpret what we think they mean that we may be in danger of putting of the hard work of changing our lives and doing the work God has called us to do. It could easily happen. We get so involved with listening to the news that we forget that we are to telling the Good News and bringing people into the kingdom of God that is here right now.
Our prayer should be what Paul wrote in his letter to the Thessalonians, “13May God our Father himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you! And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you… May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers.”
Our goal for the new year should be to do what we know we should be doing so that we are ready for Christ’s return, reading Scripture, studying Scripture, praying to God and spending time in silence so we can hear what God has for us. And then sharing the Good News of God’s love with our friends and neighbors and people we don’t know yet whom God brings to us everyday.
That sounds like a full-time job, and it is, but once we have decided how we can get this discipline ingrained in our lives it ceases to be a chore and becomes as natural as breathing. It’s just part of our daily living and then we don’t have to be worrying or anxious about whether we’re ready or not. It doesn’t matter that we’re still waiting, because we’re ready for Christ to return.
Friends, I can’t empathize enough how important this is. What if Christ came today? Would we be ready? I didn’t use to think about this very much but when I read Luke’s Message to us I am reminded of the state of the world today. It looks to me like “all hell has broken loose—sun, moon, stars, earth, sea, in an uproar and everyone all over the world in a panic, the wind knocked out of them by the threat of doom, the powers-that-be quaking.” I’m not sure the leaders of the world powers are quaking or not but it sure looks to me like the things Luke talks about have begun. There’s war, there’s economic turmoil and uncertainty, there’s global warming, and who knows what else we’ll hear about in the news today. And so it’s even more important for us to make sure people are ready and not just biding their time waiting because they’ve been waiting so long and nothing’s happened yet.
So if God has set things right with Jesus coming into the world then I believe we should make the psalm reading today our prayer. Verses 5-7 speak to me in particular, “5 Take me by the hand; Lead me down the path of truth. You are my Savior, aren't you? 6 Mark the milestones of your mercy and love, GOD; Rebuild the ancient landmarks! 7 Forget that I sowed wild oats; Mark me with your sign of love. Plan only the best for me, GOD!”
Friends, I think we have our work cut out for us. We’ve put off doing the things we should have been doing and every day that we let slip by without changing is one more day wasted and maybe one more life that may be lost, never knowing that there is a God who loves and cares for all his children and doesn’t want to see even one of them lost to the Evil One.
So even though we are still waiting for Christ’s return we shouldn’t be sitting around watching the signs and waiting. There is work to be done. We are to be making disciples and loving and caring for neighbors. We are to be worshipping God and spending Sabbath time with Him. If we do these things we can be assured that we will be more ready when Christ does come with all his followers.
Friends, lets not wait any longer. Let’s make the commitment to give it all to God and do all he has called us to be and to do. Begin today by getting back in his Word and spending time with him. He misses you.
Sisters and brothers, God loves you and so do I. Thanks be to God. Amen.